Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Well The Weather Outside Is Frightful...

 Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow. OK, not too much snow please, there's already a state of emergency!

 Winter finally showed up in Southern Ontario with a vengeance, particularly the southwest of the province, where certain areas have received over 100cm. of lake effect snow in just a few days (that's over 40" for our American friends). Add to that the low temperatures of -10C to -20 overnight (again, 14F to -4F) and the majority of the population has hunkered down for a long winter's hibernation, where possible.

  Not so with my growing group of maniacs. This weather is just the thing to kick start the little anarchist corners of our hearts. Bring on the apocalyptic winter storms, the bone chilling freeze only stokes the internal fires of ice fishing fanaticism. In about 100 days on the ice in the last 6 years, only 3 were partially spent in an ice hut. Even on the most miserable of those 3 days, I spent half the time outside huddling over my hole, keeping a low profile to the gale force winds and pelting snow, only to become buried in a rapidly growing drift. These are the days where enduring "difficult" conditions often pay huge dividends.

  That day was five years ago, when I managed to arrange a trip in late January to the Bay of Quinte with a group of co-workers. All of them had experienced fair weather ice fishing on Lake Simcoe once or twice, but nobody was prepared for what mother nature had in store for us! Early morning saw wind chills close to -30C here in the city, one and a half hours later and 100 miles east in Trenton, the wind was rising and the snow staring to fall. I'll let this video I made up today tell the rest of the story.
 The fishing aspect of the trip was a huge success, every one caught their fill of perch (yes they really were pissed) and a few other surprises. The trip home, though, was a hair raising ordeal from the start, running off the road several times in the few miles to the 401. The highway itself was completely adrift and barely visible so the only recourse was to follow the car ahead, hoping not to be led like a lemming over a cliff! By Port Hope the highway conditions improved, mainly because we (and 1000 other cars) were stuck behind 3 plows, running abreast at 30km/hr,  for the next  70km to Oshawa. Surprisingly all made it home safe and sound, no worse for wear except our nerves.

 Did I forget to mention half the group was of Caribbean decent, normally bundled up in parkas, scarves, gloves and wool hats by mid November, furtively venturing out in the cold like an insomniac groundhog only in unavoidable instances. After this trip, a typical Toronto winter day was greeted with all the chest pounding bravado of a maniacal Yeti daring the gods of nature with "is that all you've got!" Funny how one successful fishing trip during adverse conditions can change your entire perspective of a dreary season.

 So let it snow, get stupidly cold, freeze the lakes to their cores, the sooner the better, I wanna get out on the ice and I wanna do it now!!!     Or this weekend.

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